If you’re newly engaged, then congratulations! It’s such an exciting, emotional, happy time, so enjoy every minute. Once you’ve made the big announcement to friends, family and Facebook, it’s time to start thinking about wedding planning. But first, why not kick off the wedding festivities with an engagement party? Of course, engagement parties aren’t a necessity, but they can be a good way to gather and celebrate with your families and friends, especially if they haven’t yet been introduced. And the good news is that they can be as fancy or as casual as you like, from the venue right down to the engagement party catering. Here are my top tips to make the planning fun and easy, and to ensure the event is a blast!

Don’t Rush It

There’s nothing wrong with having an impromptu gathering (or several) immediately following the proposal, but if you’re planning a proper engagement party, be sure to give your guests at least a month’s notice. This will also give you a chance to relax and enjoy your newly engaged status before diving into planning an event. Don’t leave it too long though – your engagement party should always be the first of your pre-wedding events.

Consider Having It at Home

There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing your engagement party venue. Many couples chose a favourite restaurant or bar. That can be a good way to simplify things in terms of décor and engagement party catering, but having the party at your own or a parent or friend’s house is always a lovely, personal option. I love creating grazing tables for at-home engagement parties, as they create a visual centrepiece as well as being delicious!

Curate the Guest List Carefully

The one big etiquette rule for engagement parties is that anyone who makes the guest list should also be invited to the wedding. So if you’re not yet sure of the size of your wedding or who you want to invite, it’s best to opt for an intimate celebration with just close family and friends. That way you’ll be able to avoid hurt feelings later on.

Don’t Leave Your Guests Hungry

Of course, this is a good rule for any event – you never want people to have to stop off at McDonald’s on their way home! Especially if you’re serving alcohol, you should have some kind of food available. That doesn’t mean serving a sit-down dinner, of course. It could be passed hors d’oeuvres, grazing tables, or even a backyard barbeque. Anything goes when it comes to engagement party catering, except hungry guests!

Dress the Part

Of course, you don’t want to outshine your wedding day look, but your engagement party outfits should still be something special. Match them to the formality of the occasion, but choose something that will stand out a little. Many modern brides choose to wear white, as a precursor to their bridal gown (plus it’s a great excuse to buy a cute little white dress!). Consider getting your hair and makeup done so you feel your glamorous best!

Set Aside a Place for Gifts

You may not expect gifts, but some people will bring them along anyway, or even just a card. Set aside a secure place for them, and make sure it’s discreet, so that those who didn’t bring a gift don’t feel uncomfortable.

Encourage Guests to Mingle

As I mentioned, one of the best things about an engagement party is that it’s an opportunity for both sides to meet and mix. You can encourage this with thoughtful seating arrangements if you’re having a sit-down event, or even with a fun activity. But one of the best ways in my book to encourage guests to socialise is with a grazing table. They always make a good conversation starter, and are as social as they are delicious!

Dani x

Top image by: And Your Story

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